IPL 2020: Is This the Year of the Underdogs?


The IPLs of the past have solely been a three-team affair. Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indian and Royal Challengers Bangalore. CSK and MI have collectively won 7 out of the 12 IPLs so far and while RCB hasn’t won any, it is always in the limelight for the millions of ways it loses games. Being captained by the most followed sportsperson in Asia is also a reason for its fame. Rest of the other teams are always in the shadows of these three. Just one glance at their social media following could tell you the gulf in the fame of these three teams with the others.

Their following could also be attributed to their performances. While MI and CSK have a very good resume, RCB games are historically known for being the most entertaining. Rest of the teams, bar SRH and KKR, have a poor result history in the IPL. Although RR won the trophy in its first iteration, they have struggled since then. Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab have fared even worse. Both these teams have hung around in the lower half of the table in the past.

What Has Changed This Year?

All three teams, RR, DC and KXIP look like they could go all the way. All three are currently sat at the top half of the table above the likes of CSK and MI. Rajasthan Royals have won both their games on the back of good all-round performance by the team. Delhi Capitals have won 2 out of 3 games defeating Chennai Super Kings in the process. Kings XI Punjab have looked really good as well, having lost to Delhi Capitals in a superover.

Royal Challengers Bangalore, although still marred by the same bowling woes, have managed to climb up to the third spot in the table. In the past RR and KXIP matches were mostly bore-fests with no performance being worthy of being remembered. This year however it’s the other way around. CSK, SRH and KKR have given forgettable performances while DC, RR and KXIP matches have made this year’s IPL one of the most exciting in recent memory, with just 11 matches in.

Samson, Smith, Mayank Agrawal, Iyer, KL Rahul, Rabada, Tewatia, these are just a few of the players from these underdog teams that have stamped their mark on the IPL 2020. A lack of crowd could be attributed to their success as well. In the past when these teams travelled to CSK, MI or RCB the crowd pressure was enough to drain much of their confidence. Winning when 30 odd thousand people are standing in opposition and boosting the opponent’s confidence is quite tough. Now that the IPL has moved to the UAE, it has become more of a neutral venue and the home advantage has been totally nullified. No wonder the likes of CSK and MI are having a hard time winning.

Poor Performance of Historically Stronger Teams

This year’s points table looks like the opposite of that of the past. It looks like someone took the points table from last year’s IPL at a similar stage and flipped it upside down. The teams that are usually at the top like CSK, KKR, SRH can now be found at the bottom. Similarly, the teams that used to struggle are sitting at the top. A drop in the form of top teams has thrown this year’s IPL wide open and for the first time, it looks like a team other than CSK, MI and SRH could win the IPL. The likes of DC, RR and KXIP have a genuine shot at the coveted trophy, something that has hardly ever been the case.

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